Nate and Sean moving siding around the job site
Throughout the month of August, Cobalt employees were given the opportunity to participate in a nine-day ongoing Habitat for Humanity community project. More than 80 employees from both Seattle and Lynnwood offices took a paid day off work (not a vacation or sick day) to volunteer and be a part of the project. Still, it was by no means a day off. Employees did everything from cleaning up scraps to crawling on scaffolding. The goal was to give 110 percent, go home tired and feel accomplished.
The house being built is a four family structure that began construction in October of 2008. At the beginning of the project, which Cobalt employees also worked on, most of the employee volunteers spent the day digging a foundation. Many were surprised to find themselves working on an actual house this year.
“It was pretty exciting to see a real building standing in the place where a pile of dirt was just the year before,” stated Melissa Satterwhite, Senior Operations Analyst at the Lynnwood office, who participated last year at the start of the build. “There is nothing more impacting to a family than giving them a place to live, a home. I couldn’t be a stronger supporter. Every little bit counts.”
The volunteers arrived at the job site at 8am and worked until 4pm with lunch provided by Cobalt. CEO and co-founder John Holt also participated in cutting 14 foot concrete forms weighing no less than 80lbs to the right depth, a feat that requires a lot of endurance and teamwork.
Julia and AJ measuring a closet, preparing to place wood blocks that will be used to stabilize closet shelves.
“We partnered with Habitat to give all our employees a chance to participate in a national organization with local emphasis,” declared Holt. “I think it’s my job to articulate Cobalt’s values and give employees opportunities to get involved with efforts that are consistent with our beliefs; but it’s ultimately up to the employees how to use their time and money. Habitat makes it easy because it has a proven volunteer structure and there’s good work to do. Cobalt also pays folks to take a day off to contribute. Plus we get to spend a day with colleagues we may not know, which fosters new bonds and builds community.”
Cobalt’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity began as a project that would engage the whole company on a national level including the 200+ employees that work out of their houses. Habitat provides an opportunity for people to be more hands on and offer something more than monetary donations. The goal is to work together as a company, building community both within Cobalt and within the surrounding neighborhoods.
“As a whole, everyone who works for Cobalt works really well together. Everyone was working hard and working together to make sure everything got done. Our jobs are mentally challenging, but not physically… we all were so sore the next morning. But now, I can drive by that house and say, ‘I helped build that and that is amazing,’ ” said Lacey Roberts, Account Advocate at the Lynnwood office.
Day Three Cobalt work crew.
Many of the employees who volunteered for Habitat continue to broaden their charitable scope. Both Satterwhite and Roberts have maintained involvement with Habitat for Humanity separate from Cobalt, donating their skills in other areas as well as volunteering. Holt continues to build strong community values, organizing charitable events and donations. This year, Cobalt made a conscious decision to not lower contributions.
“I didn’t think we could justify pulling back, because the community needed us now more than ever,” stated Holt. “In all cases, we’ve maintained support or increased it because it was simply the right thing to do.”